Background and purpose: Stroke, increasingly referred to as a "brain attack", is one of the leading causes of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. It has recently been estimated that there were three quarters of a million strokes in the United States in 1995. The aim of this study was to replicate the 1995 estimate and examine if there was an increase from 1995 to 1996 by using a large administrative claims database representative of all 1996 US inpatient discharges.
Methods: We used the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, release 5, which contains approximately 20 percent of all 1996 US inpatient discharges. We identified stroke patients by using the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes from 430 to 438, and we compared the 1996 database with that of 1995.
Results: There were 712,000 occurrences of stroke with hospitalization (95% CI 688,000 to 737,000) and an estimated 71,000 occurrences of stroke without hospitalization. This totaled 783,000 occurrences of stroke in 1996, compared to 750,000 in 1995. The overall rate for occurrence of total stroke (first-ever and recurrent) was 269 per 100,000 population (age- and sex-adjusted to 1996 US population).
Conclusions: We estimate that there were 783,000 first-ever or recurrent strokes in the United States during 1996, compared to the figure of 750,000 in 1995. This study replicates and confirms the previous annual estimates of approximately three quarters of a million total strokes. This slight increase is likely due to the aging of the population and the population gain in the US from 1995 to 1996.